Anger and love: The two opposites

FPJ Bureau Updated: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 01:12 PM IST |

Mr. R. And Mrs. P. were once a loving couple. Somehow, due to various stresses, they became irritable and started having angry arguments regularly. As the anger kept on persisting, the love started becoming lesser and lesser. A point came when they seriously considered divorce. A well-wisher suggested marriage counsellor. But they refused, saying, “What will the counsellor tell us that we already do not know?”

No major issues between them and yet they reached the doorstep of divorce. How did it happen? If you look around, you will find many relationships – not just husband-wife relationships – going through phases of love and anger. How does love bring people together? And, how does anger break relationships?

Problems keep coming all the time. Each problem has many facets to it: What is the extent of problem, what is going to happen, what needs to be done, etc. But there is one aspect of the problem that triggers anger: Who caused the problem? Who is responsible for the problem? It is the blame game that triggers accusations and anger. “Why did the child do poorly in exams? Because of you!” “Why didn’t our company get the contract? Because if you!”“Who caused the car accident? You!” And so on.

Anger usually activates the wish for revenge: “You have hurt me, so I will hurt you!” This hurting can be verbal, physical or otherwise – like sabotaging a colleague’s chances. The angry person does not feel satisfied till the other person has been ‘properly hurt’!

Then a vicious cycle develops. I am angry, so I hurt you. That makes you angry and then you hurt me. And then I retaliate again. And it goes on and on. It goes on much longer if both want to have the last word. “Why should I back out all the time? Why can’t s/he back out?” This feeling is especially stronger if ‘the other person having the last word’ is considered a Personal Defeat! Nobody likes to be defeated!

Anger has the peculiar property of creating repulsion. If you are really angry with someone, you will detest being with that person! You would like to keep as many kilometres between you and s/he as possible! ‘Couples drifting apart’ – this is the reason.

Love, on the other hand, creates a force of attraction. Love, here, does not only mean love in a couple, but love in all kinds of relationships: parent-child, siblings, office colleagues, friends – and even love between humans and their pets!

Love creates the feelings of liking, fondness, wishing well, helping, forgiving, etc. But perhaps the main feeling is that of wanting to be close, enjoying the company. This is exactly the opposite of anger. That is why love brings people closer.

Love, too, has its own positive feedback cycle: give love, receive love, give love once again and so on. What is the use of knowing all this info about anger and love? We keep finding ourselves or people known to us in angry relationships. That is the time to put this knowledge to use. The most important thing is to turn off anger. Anger is rarely without some justification. So you have a reason and right to be angry. But if you let go off your right to be angry and the right to hit back, you will be rewarded with a better, happier and long-lasting relationship.

You cannot fight fire with fire. But you can fight fire with ice. Undoubtedly, it is easier said than done. But if you can swallow your anger, you will be able to enjoy a pleasing relationship. People who are able to control their anger, have much better relationships at home, at workplace and with friends.

But turning off the anger is only half of the story. The second thing to do is to turn on the love. This is very difficult when you have gone through an angry phase and you have boiling resentment inside you. Take your time to cool down and then try again.

What frequently happens is that one person cools down but the other person is still sharpening knives inside the mind! One person offers the hand of friendship, but the other person spits fire. The first person, who has barely controlled his/her anger, promptly concludes, “See! It is not going to work out. I have tried. I have given it a chance. But, see!S/he is not interested. So the thing is not going to work out.” Such complexities! If both persist with more love and less anger, things can really improve.

Turning on love does not necessarily mean saying coochi-coochi words! Simple, nice, friendly words and actions can attract people. Be angry and the people will go away from you! Or be loving and nice and people will be attracted to you!

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Published on: Saturday, August 20, 2016, 01:03 PM IST